Saturday, May 23, 2015

Blog Kiosk: 5/23/2015 - Dodger Links - Puig, Pederson and Brandon Beachy

When I came across this photo on eBay I knew I had to share it - watermark and all.  Featured above is former Dodger skipper Walter Alston playing a game of pool with his father at his Ohio home in 1962.  He had just signed a new contract to coach the club for another season, and was no doubt celebrating with a leisurely game.

On the other hand, knowing Alton's reputation as a pool shark, it may not have been so laid-back.  After all, Alston had said on numerous occasions that he put himself through college playing pool, and it's well known he would happily take your wad should you meet him at the table.

Some say he was the best billiard player in the game, and when he teamed up with Jim Gilliam and Leo Durocher (all fantastic pool players in their own right) they formed a fantastic cabal that stormed through the league.

I often wonder how much money they hustled off of opposing teams.  Did they come into a city with thoughts of victory and wealth?  Would they meet with the opposing players/coach's at a local hall hoping to demoralize them on the green felt after doing so on the green grass?  What kind of shtick would Alston use when facing someone who didn't know him?

I can imagine it now.  He plays some country bumpkin, wheeling in an unsuspecting mark, before setting off a volley of game-winning shots.  

Below are some more links to check out:

Pederson’s swing is just that: A blend of old and new school that is beautiful to watch and has created impressive results. Pederson has the loose, relaxed upper body reminiscent of hitters of yesteryear with the big leg kick, and the aggressive lower body movements favored by the best modern hitters. This movement pattern isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, it’s an efficient way to deliver the bat with force. The coach in me loves his swing because the movements are so big and clear; Pederson provides a great template to show young hitters how to move with intent at the plate. 
  • Just another depth move for the Dodgers.  Via Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors, "Dodgers Acquire Eric Surkamp From White Sox."  Apparently, Blake Smith was sent to the White Sox.
  • Brandon Beachy, signed over the winter, pitched a three-inning simulated game/live batting practice yesterday in preparation for a possible rehab assignment.  He would certainly be in the starting pitching mix should he prove to be ready in the minors.  Via a tweet from @Think_BlueLA:

  • This is really cool.  Via Thomas Duffy at the Bleacher Report, "Father Surprises Daughter at Wedding with a Game of Catch During 1st Dance."
  • Here's a video I came across of Clayton Kershaw doing some painting by throwing balls for MTV.  Best yet, he spent some time throwing right-handed.

Video Link:
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    Friday, May 22, 2015

    Bid Now on Some Dodgers' Mother's Day Game-Used Gear

    Are you looking to add some unique memorabilia to your Dodger collection?

    Then look no further than to MLB's own auction of Mother's Day game-used goodies from the Dodgers.  Currently, there are game-used bats and shoes/cleats available for sale of three Dodger players: Joc Pederson, Alex Guerrero and Yasmani Grandal.  Check out a listing below.  BTW, Major League Baseball Charities, Inc. will equally distribute its proceeds from the auction of MLB Pink Ribbon Products to The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. and Entertainment Industry Foundation, for breast cancer initiatives.

    Joc Pederson

    There are two Pederson game-used bats from the Mother's Day game the Dodgers played against the Rockies currently on auction.  You can see a photo of them at his locker in Colorado above. 
    • The Marucci Bat (as seen above) is available here (link).
    • Joc's Louisville Slugger Bat is available here (link).
    • His cleats from the evening can be found here (link).  A photo of them is directly below.  So far Joc's shoes are at $355 with 11 bids.
    (Auction Link)

    Alexander Guerrero

    Guerrero's bat can be found here (link), and his cleats (as seen below) can be found here (link).
    (Auction Link)

    Yasmani Grandal

    Check out the game bat from our hit-hitting catcher here (link).  It's a Louisville Slugger.  Check out the cleats he wore here (link).  A photo of them is below.
    (Auction Link)

    Photo at the very top and the very bottom via @Dodgers on twitter.

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    Blog Kiosk: 5/22/2015 - Dodger Links - Kershaw, Ryu and Arruebarrena

    Clayton has had a rough go of it recently.  Sure, he's still striking out batters at a healthy clip, but for whatever reason the opposition is getting on base more often and scoring more runs.  Via Ken Gurnick at
    Kershaw, his fastball several ticks slower than usual, conceded his pitches "just weren't coming out, for some reason." He said he felt fine -- "You're going to have those days," -- and he tipped his cap to Bumgarner, who stunned him by slugging a third-inning home run with two outs.

    "Fastball down the middle," he said. "I should have a little more respect for him."
    This is the first I've read that his velocity is down; which is a bit disconcerting.  Worse yet, he conceded that he was running on empty, via Mark Saxon at ESPN:
    Kershaw’s velocity was down a little bit on Thursday, and he admitted he didn’t “have a whole lot in the tank, honestly.”

    “It just wasn’t coming out for whatever reason,” Kershaw said. “It’s tough. Madison pitched really well, and you just tip your cap, again.”
    What is clear is that the Giants are no laughing matter, Bumgarner is a proven champion ace and their manager Bruce Bochy might be the best in the business.  The Giants are riding high with a six game winning streak, and you have to figure we'll be battling them for a playoff spot all season long. 

    Photo above via the @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are some more links to check out:
    The left-hander needed a repair of his left labrum and will not pitch again until 2016.
    Erisbel Arruebarrena has not played a game at any level this season and has been placed on the suspended list by the Dodgers, apparently for disciplinary reasons.
    "Part of his success is that he hides the ball really well," said Rancho Cucamonga pitching coach Bill Simas. "Some people have a knack for that. It's hard to explain. He hides it behind his body until that release."

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      Thursday, May 21, 2015

      Holy Mackerel! Dodgers LAPD Police Baseball Cards are Coming Back!

      Wow!  This little bit of news just came out of nowhere.

      I was looking through a press release regarding the upcoming homestand this weekend when I stumbled upon a little news blurb that has my heart racing.

      Do you remember those Dodger Baseball cards given out by LAPD officers in the 80's?

      Ya know!

      They were a little over-sized, had mostly white boarders and featured every Dodger player on the team.

      I know you know what I'm talking about.  Any child of the 80's remembers them, and if your decade was later then you might recall the LAPD cards that the Dodgers gave away during a game a decade later.

      I had just a handful of them while growing up, but eventually completed every set as I got older.  They were originally produced from 1980 to 2002.  (I have pics of every card from these set, and you can check them out here.)

      Well, I just received news that this set will be coming back, and an official announcement will be made at this coming Wednesday's game against the Braves.  Here is what the press release says:
      Los Angeles Chief of Police Charlie Beck and L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell will throw the ceremonial first pitch and will join the Dodgers in announcing the re-launch of a fan-favorite program where officers will distribute Dodger baseball cards to children and families while on patrol. In 2015, the program returns with the addition of L.A. County Sheriffs. In total, nearly 10,000 LAPD officers and 10,000 sheriff’s deputies will carry Dodgers baseball cards with them while on patrol this season.
      WooHoo! I can't wait. 

      Does this mean that I'll have to walk up to every office I see this year.  Will they give a big kid like me (who is over 40-years old) a couple of cards? 

      I have no idea what they are going to look like yet, but I'll be sure to share that once I find out.

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      Padres Series Starts Tomorrow - Scheduled Autograph Sessions, Pregame Info and Other Stuff!

      The next homestand starts tomorrow against the San Diego Padres, and several former Dodgers are scheduled for an autograph session with fans.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand.

      Levy Restaurants currently offers Caribbean Sticky Ribs at the Think Blue BBQ located in the left-field plaza. This dish features pork spare ribs, ghost pepper and molasses marinade, pineapple barbeque sauce and is served with a tropical cole slaw. This homestand, Levy Restaurants will also offer Sweet Corn Nachos with Chihuahua cheese sauce at the La Taqueria stands located on the field, loge and reserve levels.

      Friday, May 22nd at 7:10 PM
      Andrew Cashner vs. RHP Zack Greinke
      SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

      Tonight's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:40 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:10 PM.  It is Friday Night Fireworks, so fans will be able to go down onto the field after the game to watch the spectacle. The theme for the evening will be a live DJ set by Grammy award winner Zedd.  Go here for information about future firework themes. of the Black Eyed Peas will throw the ceremonial first pitch as part of the third annual Adoptee night in partnership with the Mixed Roots Foundation and the Foundation. He will be joined on the field by his adoptive father Joe Ben Hudgens in recognition of National Foster Care Month. Sunburst Youth Academy Brigadier General James Gabrielli will also throw a first pitch.  Cameroonian-born singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist, model and actress Andy Allo will perform the national anthem. “Entourage” actor Jerry Ferrara will serve as guest PA announcer.

      Pregame entertainment will also include a stilt walker in the left-field plaza and DJ Adam in the right-field plaza from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Dodger alumnus Kenny Landreaux will sign autographs in the left-field pavilion from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
      • The Military Heroes of the Game are U.S. Army National Guard Sergeant Salina Munoz, U.S. Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Alexander Darius Yin and U.S. Army Sergeant Paul Gonzalez. Munoz and Yin are both currently stationed at Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos and serve at the Sunburst Youth Academy, one of the top reformative youth challenge programs in the nation. Gonzalez is currently stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina and has served three deployments, six years infantry and three years in signal corps.
      • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) conducts silent auctions throughout the season featuring more than 25 signed pieces of memorabilia from Dodger players, coaches and alumni. Auctions will take place behind the Vin Scully press box on the club level. The items up for auction on Friday include a Clayton Kershaw autographed photo, Fernando Valenzuela autographed baseball and Joc Pederson autographed Dodger jersey. The auction will end at 8:45 PM.

      Saturday, May 23rd at 7:10 PM
      RHP Ian Kennedy vs. RHP Mike Bolsinger
      SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

      Saturday's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:40 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:10 PM.  The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a Adrian Gonzalez bobblehead.  See it on the left.

      In celebration of Gonzalez’s bobblehead day, Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuellar will perform on the field prior to the game. The 10-man group will perform three songs selected by Gonzalez: “El Rey,” “Mexico Lindo y Querido” and “Mariachi Loco.”  Grammy award-winning R&B singer Eric Bellinger will perform the national anthem.

      Pregame entertainment will also include a magician from the Magic Castle in the left-field plaza, DJ Adam in the right-field plaza, DJ Lady Sha in the left-field reserve plaza and The Smokin’ Cobras in the right-field reserve plaza from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Dodger alumnus Billy Ashley will sign autographs in the left-field pavilion from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
      • The Military Hero of the Game is U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant E6 Gerardo Rodriguez of Moreno Valley. Rodriguez just returned from his second deployment to the Middle East. He has served more than 11 years in the Air Force, has been stationed at bases in England, Korea and California and is currently stationed at March Air Reserve Base as a combat arms instructor.

      Sunday, May 24th at 1:10 PM
      RHP James Shields vs. RHP Carlos Frias
      SNLA / AM 570 (Eng.), KTNQ 1020 AM (Span.)

      Sunday's game starts at 1:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 10:40 AM, and stadium gates open at 11:10 AM.

      Viva Los Dodgers will be at the historic 76 station at Dodger Stadium.  Dodger alumnus Al Ferrara will sign autographs from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  Musical entertainment will be provided by 40 Watt Hype and Blue Agave.

      Hollywood Records recording artist Sabrina Carpenter will perform the national anthem.  The singer/songwriter just released her album debut, “Eyes Wide Open,” a collection of pop songs, many of them co-written by Carpenter. Sean “The Dancing Man” O’Brien will throw the ceremonial first pitch. An internet sensation, “The Dancing Man,” has raised awareness for anti-bullying after O’Brien experienced online body-shaming via a video of him dancing at a club.

      Dodger alumnus Tommy Davis will sign autographs in the left-field pavilion from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

      LUCKY!!!  BTW, there is a special bonus for fans sitting in the left and right field pavilions.  They will receive a pair of Terminator Genisys Sunglasses courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. “Terminator Genisys” is in theaters July 1. 
      • The Military Hero of the Game is U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant Michael Smith of Tulare. Smith has been an active-duty member of the California Air National Guard for the past 25 years and has been deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Southern Watch and to Kyrgyzstan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Smith provides base and aircraft security, has been assigned to Presidential and Vice Presidential aircraft and is currently assigned to the 144th Security Forces Squadron in Fresno. He will serve on another deployment this summer.
      • LADF conducts silent auctions throughout the season featuring more than 25 signed pieces of memorabilia from Dodger players, coaches and alumni. Auctions will take place behind the Vin Scully press box on the club level. The items up for auction on Sunday include an Alex Guererro autographed photo, Zack Greinke autographed baseball and Adrian Gonzalez autographed Dodger jersey. The auction will end at 2:45 p.m.

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      Fernando Valenzuela was an Oriole... Wha...?

      What on earth is this?

      I'm confused, bewildered and perplexed.  I just can't get my head around the idea (no... the reality) that the great Fernando Valenzuela once played for a club that was not the Dodgers, let alone the Orioles.

      I know that previous sentence is silly.  After all, he was only 30-years old when he was released by the Dodgers, and his career was from over then.  Still, the notion that Fernando played for other clubs is something I'd rather forget, and certainly it's the last thing I want to be reminded of on cardboard.

      Featured above is a 2015 Topps Tier One Autographed Relic card of El Toro as a Baltimore Oriole.  This set was just released a couple of days ago, so I should have pics of most of the Dodger cards some time next week.  In the meantime, I am going to force you to stare at the card above.

      How does the card make you feel?  Are you as dumbfounded as I am?  Or angry that Topps would dare make this card?

      This is the first modern day Baseball card I've seen, or noticed, that features Fernando in a uniform other than Dodger Blue, and I wonder if there are any more.  Does anybody out there know of one?  Please pass that knowledge along.

      As for Valenzuela's career after Los Angeles, I do remember him playing for the Angels and Padres, and I recall how weird it looked to see him in those uniforms.  For whatever reason, though, I have no recollection of the other three clubs he pitched for - Phillies, Orioles and Cardinals.  I wonder why that is.  Did I just block that out?

      BTW, I ran into the above card on eBay.  You can check out the auction here.  Also, a complete checklist of the set can be found here.

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      Blog Kiosk: 5/21/2015 - Dodger Links - Scully, Puig and a Slump?

      Maybe I'm just too patient for my own good, but I do not believe that two consecutive loses make a slump.  Furthermore, losing those two games by getting blanked both times and scoring a total of only one run the past three games also does not make a slump.

      It's a little detour, and I have no doubt the club will get themselves back on the right road.  Via Ken Gurnick at
      "We're OK," Mattingly said. "Over the last three games, we haven't scored runs. On the homestand, we weren't really great. But it's what you go through."

      Mattingly rejected the suggestion that Dodgers hitters have changed approach after the home run barrage.

      "I don't think so. The guys know who they are," he said. "They are pretty solid, staying even. They've been through this before. When it happens as a group, it's tougher. Go through stretches where you're not swinging and you get pressure on everyone. We need a couple of big hits."
      The graphic above via the @Dodgers on twitter.  Below are some more links to check out:
      Instead, what he diagnoses from this miserly stretch of hitting is a good old fashioned team slump, simple as that. Understanding what it is, he acknowledged, doesn't make it any less frustrating.

      "Every year I've ever played and every year I've ever managed and every year I've ever coached, your team goes through about three of these a year, and this is no different," Mattingly said. "It's the first one we've gone through."
      You undoubtedly heard Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully repeatedly talk about the excessively watered down infield (I’d say ad nauseam but nothing Vin Scully says is ad nauseam). In fact, at one point Scully even linked the nickname of “Swamp Fox” once given to former Giants manager Alvin Dark to the condition of the ballpark’s infield.
      MP: So inquiring minds wanna know, why are you cutting down on the bat flips?
      YP: Last year I had more pop that this year. Home Run [claps hands] POW! Bat flip. It’s a home run! This year? I swing, it’s not a home run. Why even bat flip? When I hit a big home run? I’ll Bat flip. It’s my game, the people like it. When you do the bat flip, everybody’s talking. When you don’t do the bat flip, everybody’s talking too [Laughs].

      MP: I guess that’s really true.
      YP: You see? I’m not doing the bat flip and now everybody’s doing the bat flip. [Laughs] I saw someone do a bat flip on a triple. A triple! That’s not a home run!
      "I guess I'm in my prime, where I can enjoy this and not put any pressure on myself. I just have to stay true to my routine, keep healthy and strong, and enjoy every minute. I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody. There's the classic example of the guy who wants to do too much and does nothing. They're so worried about the numbers on the scoreboard they can't play free."

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        Wednesday, May 20, 2015

        Yasiel Puig is Now a Fashion Model for Starter

        With so much free time due to his leg injury, Yasiel Puig has taken a short course correction.  He is now a spokesman and model for Starter apparel and will appear in a marketing campaign called Jackets Required that begins today.  As you've surely guessed by now, Starter is heavily marketing their line of fashionable jackets, and you can go here to check out more pics from his recent photo-shoot.  You can also watch the below video, as well.

        Video Link:

        Via Khanh T.L. Tran at "L.A. Dodger Yasiel Puig Makes Fashion Debut in Starter Ads":
        Puig comes across as an unlikely star for a fashion campaign. He chortles when asked what kind of clothes he liked wearing when growing up in Cuba. “I didn’t have clothes,” he replied through an interpreter, describing his personal style then as “barefoot and no clothes.”

        Following numerous attempts to escape the Communist island, he finally succeeded in 2012, when he signed a seven-year deal with the Dodgers. “All that I know to do is play baseball in any country — Cuba, here, wherever — that’s what I love to do,” he said.
        I really like the above white Brooklyn Dodger jacket.  According to the story these jackets will carry a price tag of $80.00.  At the Starter website they appear to be on sale.  Go here to check that out.

        Photos via Courtesy Photo/

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        Ryu to Go Under the Knife

        The Dodgers are now down two starting pitchers for the 2015 season.

        Just weeks after losing Brandon McCarthy to Tommy John Surgery we now have to contend with a second starter going under the knife.  This time it's Hyun-Jin Ryu and he'll undergo left shoulder  arthroscopic surgery tomorrow (Thursday).  It will be performed by Dodger team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

        From what I understand this procedure is meant to allow the doctor an opportunity to take a closer look at what ails Ryu.  As you know, Ryu suffered some pain and inflammation in his shoulder during spring training, and subsequently experience a significant drop in velocity while rehabbing recently.  Last week they performed an MRI and found no major structural damage in his left shoulder.  Unfortunately, the MRI didn't provide much help in diagnosing Ryu's problems, so he'll have surgery to essentially clean things up and give the doctor a chance to take a closer look.

        We do not have a solid timetable for his return, but should know more after tomorrows procedure.  Nevertheless, I think it's safe to assume that Ryu is done for the season. Via Andrew Friedman via Mark Saxon at ESPN:
        "It hasn't progressed as quickly as we all hoped, and he's worked extremely hard to get back. It just isn't happening as quickly as he would like," Friedman said. "It's not a totally clear-cut, black-and-white issue. It's more involved than that. We have an excellent doctor in ElAttrache and a very good medical department, and everyone is putting their heads together to see what makes the most sense."
        Fortunately, the Dodger front office built an impressive array of depth with starting pitching over the winter, so it's unlikely they'll feel hard-pressed to do anything drastic to add to the rotation right away.  We've got a number of pitchers raring to prove themselves on the mound.  Still, you should expect them to send out various feelers throughout the league to see who is available.  BTW, I still think it's unlikely the Dodgers will trade their top prospects: Seager and Urias.  But De Leon, Verdugo, Holmes, etc. might be available for the right player.

        Photo above taken by Yasiel Puig/LA Dodgers 2015

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        Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Steve Sax and Alex Guerrero

        Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


        If you're heading out to Lancaster this coming Thursday (tomorrow) then you should check out the JetHawks play the Rangers Single-A affiliate High Desert Mavericks.  And if you go you'll be attending that clubs second "Superstar Series" event of the season.  What this means is that you will have an opportunity to meet and get an autograph from Dodger legend Steve Sax.  Below is a schedule of other players who will be attending on future dates.

        From what I understand, each guest will be signing during the game (at its start) for approximately 90 minutes.  BTW, the games start at 6:30 PM.  You can go here for more information.

        Lancaster JetHawks
        45116 Valley Central Way
        Lancaster, CA 93536

        Alex Guerrero is making his first public appearance this coming Saturday, May 23 from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM at Manuel's Original El Tepeyac Cafe in the City of Industry.  Go here for information.
        • $40 for small items: balls,8x10-16x20 and mini helmets
        • $60 for large items: bats, bases, f/s helmets,jerseys and game used
        • $10 inscriptions
        Manuel's Original El Tepeyac Cafe
        13131 Crossroads Parkway South
        City of Industry, CA 91746

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